Pilates Exercise: Rib Cage Closure

Rib Cage Closure with Weights

Linda Canning

January 8, 2020
Exercise mat on floor with woman practising yoga in background. Close up of pilates mat in fitness center and blurred female at the back exercising.

Rib cage closure is such an effective exercise that I teach in class, and to patients, which then normally leads onto 'The Greyhound' which I will post later.

The key thing with this exercise is to leave your ribcage on the floor as you take your arms over your head.

Ask your abdomen not to brace but to gently sink towards the spine as you take your arms over creating the 'greyhound' shaped abdomen which shows you are activating one of your 'core muscles', the transversus abdominis.

Feel that you can ease your ribcage away from your pelvis, decompressing the spine but without flaring the ribs up to the ceiling.

You might not be able to find the floor with your hands. This means you are restricted in the muscles around your shoulders. This will improve with time. The point of the exercise is to keep the ribs on the floor, not reach the floor.

To use the breath; Breathe in to send your arms up and out to take your arms back, breathe in to hold and out to pull your arms back.

Maintain a steady ribcage and pelvis throughout. Feel connected and grounded in this simple yet wonderful exercise. Practice without weights first.

Why do this?

  • To work your transversus abdominis
  • To mobilise your shoulders
  • Become aware of your core connection
  • Release tension in the neck and mid back
  • To balance and reduce unnecessary muscular tension in the lower back

It's one of my faves.